While many new construction homes nowadays are designed to obtain the highest energy efficiency they can, what about older, historic homes? Although they were built before many energy saving devices were around, is it still possible for them to be energy efficient?
A lot of the time, we associate old homes with being drafty and cold, but the truth is that historic houses were made to be energy efficient, in some ways, more so than even new homes. How can we say that?
Look at a few features of these homes that make them automatically more energy efficient:
They are often built using brick or masonry. These kinds of heavy duty construction materials make walls built with them very thick. This means they are better at retaining heat
Modern homes today are frequently built to be aesthetically pleasing. The modern design usually incorporates more windows than is generally needed. In historic homes, windows were usually positioned to maximize light and provide good ventilation. They also were fitted with shutters or places for curtains and drapes. All of these provide a level of insulation which aids with energy savings.
In warmer parts of the country (such as here in Central Florida), these older homes were built with features like exterior balconies, wide roof overhangs, porches and even well positioned trees. The homes exterior was often painted with lighter, heat reflective colors. All contributing to cooler temps indoors.
We can see from this quick review, that if you have the pleasure of living in a historic home, it doesn’t mean you can’t be energy conscious. It might even be better than you thought
Mike McFadden, Certified Master Home Inspector in Orlando, FL